Let's Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Today's piece is about those list of names in small font, sometimes with fancy looking accompanying acronyms and sometimes with funny sounding roles, that scroll past us at the end of TV shows and film. At this point, you might be feeling the urge to go for a snooze. But bear with me as there is a creative point to this and I feel as passionate about it as my passion for music itself.
Last month was pivotal in the world of Music Supervisors. A formal recognition of the work that goes behind what we do: Music Supervision has been been given its own category at The Emmy Awards. When you consider how TV has changed beyond recognition in the last 25 years, with film stars who once scoffed at the mere mention of TV, now clamouring for parts, and production values on a different plane creatively and financially, with the use of music as a creative fuel to a show’s identity, it is hugely gratifying that the broadcast industry now recognises the craft of a music supervisor. Up next, Bafta, Golden Globes and The Oscars? I'm sure it won't be long...
So, about giving credit. TV recognises the music supervisor, but hasn’t yet caught up with the film industry by including song titles and artists in end credits. In my conversations with TV exec producers and post-production supervisors, the reasons are precedential ranging from "insufficient time allocated to the credit role", to "not legally required to do so". TV is not alone. In advertising, even the listed credits on industry sites like CampaignLive and bests rarely include music credits. Surely it is time to acknowledge the music that helps make stories so memorable and credit those behind what we hear for everyone to see.
Back to the screen, and credits pass by in a flash, so any faster won't make any material difference to the viewer and with a growing proportion of households with play, rewind, pause technology as well as catch-up TV, there’s ample opportunity to check the closing credits for those keen to do so. Meanwhile, considering the role that music plays today in productions, I’d suggest rights holders to set a positive precedence and require a credit in return for granting licenses. From the production company and broadcaster’s perspective, attracting audiences and catering to their needs is what their very livelihood is dependent on. Why frustrate viewers who love a song on their show by having them look elsewhere to find out what it is? Yes, we can Shazam or else scroll through endless comments on YouTube. But why create that barrier when you have end credits which let viewers know who’s behind what they just saw and heard? And, we all love seeing our names appear on the "small" screen., so it might even persuade some rights holders to license their music with more workable terms. When songs are placed, payed for and credited, Broadcasters, viewers, labels, publishers, and artists are happy, Everybody wins!
Music Supervisors are gradually getting due credit, thanks in part to trade bodies like Guild of Music Supervisors in the U.S (a U.K arm was recently launched) . Without songwriters and performers creating music and labels & Publishers supporting them, TV might still be film's ugly sibling, today. Let's embrace the beauty of music in TV today and credit those behind it alongside those who chose it.